1909 Monaco Regatta
The Monaco Motor-Boat Meeting
A BRITISH VICTORY
(From Our Special Correspondent)
Monte Carlo, April 5. The first of the international motor-boat races for the unlimited power class of racers was run at Monaco this afternoon, and thousands of interested spectators witnessed an exciting duel between the British boat Wolseley-Siddeley, owned by the Duke of Westminster, and the French boat, Panhard-Levassor. The distance was 50 kilometres (about 31 miles), or eight times round the course, the race being known as the Prix de Monte Carlo. The British boat, being steered by Mr. N. Robins, manager of the motor-boat department of the Wolseley-Siddeley Company, completed the course in 49 minutes and four-fifths of a second. Last year the time for the winning boat for the same race was 56 minutes 17 2-5 seconds, to-day's performance thus establishing an easy record.
The entrants were Alla-Va, a French hydroplane, from which the theorists expected great things, Panhard-Levassor, Dixie and Standard, two American boats, Wolseley-Siddeley, and Prinz Heinrich, a German boat. There was an Italian entry, Jeanette, but she was not finished in time to race. Prinz Heinrich went out for a trial spin before the race and sank, a result which surprised nobody who had seen the boat in the exhibition. It is a great mistake to imagine that the Mediterranean is a lake, but it takes time to ram this fact home to some builders of high-powered craft with a light construction standard. The second of the American string could not start. She may be all right in Oyster Bay, but in these waters, if run at high speed on her present lines, she would be an absolute death-trap. a false keel has been fitted to her, but her stability has not been greatly increased thereby, and men are now hard at work on her broadening her beam so as to enable her to take part in the next big international race on Friday without turning turtle.
This left Alla-Va, Panhard, Dixie, and Wolseley to come to the starting line. Dixie won the British international trophy last year, but to-day her engines were not firing properly, and she was out of the race very early, being lapped at the end of the second round. Alla-Va was a great disappointment to her supporters. The huge hydroplane, the biggest of her kind ever built, crossed the starting line first with a good turn of speed, having nearly a minute's start of Panhard and Wolseley. Notwithstanding this she began to pound heavily directly as she was driven into the swell of the sea.
Wolseley shot to the front at the end of the first straight run. Then Panhard took second place, and at the completion of the first round Alla-Va crept back into the harbour, leaving Wolseley and Panhard to fight out one of the most exciting duels of marine speed ever seen. Wolseley once having got her lead, kept it throughout, Panhard hanging on her heels with grim tenacity all the time. It was never more than a question of a few seconds between them, but Wolseley, like her formidable rival, had been properly tuned up. Nothing went wrong with the engines. Everything worked beautifully throughout, and once ahead this British boat kept there and won a popular victory by 14sec.
Monte Carlo, April 5. The race for cruisers of the first class over a course of 50 kilometres (31 1/4 miles) was won by Sizaire et Naudin in 1 hour 43min. 13 1-5sec. Nautilus Anzani was second in 2 hours 12min. 33sec., Robert third, in 4 hours 32min. 5 4-5sec., Chantiers Megevet fourth, and Steno fifth.
(Transcribed from the Times of London, Apr. 6, 1909, p. 5. )
[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page LF]
History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at email@example.com
© Leslie Field, 2002